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The Polish House: An Intimate History of Poland [Hardcover]

Radek Sikorski
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

22 Sep 1997
An intimate history of Poland told through the personal experience of restoring a house in a village plagued by invasion and disaster. The story is about ordinary people whose lives fill this moving and evocative book, but Sikorski isalso acutely aware of the grand wheels of history and politics at work not only on a house, but a village and a country.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (22 Sep 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297819836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297819837
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 789,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The problem with history and historians is that they (and so the history itself), are always desperately trying to separate the truth from the coloured perspectives of events. Given that as people, it is impossible to observe and relate an event, without tainting that account in some way, it would seem that the pursuit of historians is rather futile.
This then is the beauty of The Polish House. It does not present itself as a scholarly work of history. Instead, it presents one man's understanding of events, based around his own experiences and those of his family.
In doing so, it answers more of the questions that so many Pole's, especially those forced to live in exile since the Second World War, have been asking, than any historian could ever hope to.
It is just such a personal account that Poland as a nation has been denied for so long, being so much the focus of puerile historical academic work. Sikorski gives back to Polish people a sense of belonging to that nation by recognising the people, their experiences and by bringing to the fore the experiences of Poles during the war - experiences that historians seem to overlook all to regularly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genuinely interesting history book! 2 Sep 2003
By A Customer
I came across this book in the library by accident while searching for books on Polish history and I am so glad I did. I visited family near Krakow in July this year and immediately fell in love with Poland. I wanted to learn a bit more about this country that has gone through so much change in recent times.
The 'Polish House' in the title refers to a country house that the author and his family buy and renovate to its former glory when he returned to Poland from exile after 1989. This is just a small part of the book though because it mainly deals with the background of the Solidarity movement and the author's involvement in the post communist government in Poland during the 80s and early 90s. As someone in their mid 20s, I remember Solidarity and Lech Walesa being on the news when I was much younger and also the fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequent fall of communism but I was too young to appreciate exactly what was going on.
The author's genuine love for his country shines throughout but his journalistic background means he presents an informative and honest picture of a country trying to shake off the communist 'old guard' whilst coming to terms with the benefits and pitfalls of capitalism. I found his account of Poland's recent history and his family's involvement to be fascinating and heart-warming.
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